Originally published at http://www.commondreams.org/views/2020/09/09/something-rotten-big-meat-inc
Always appreciate Jim’s outlook on things, especially related to food production, he was the Agriculture Commissioner of TX. in the 1980’s, and did his best to fight stupid rules, to promote sustainable and organic farming. The story linked below should scare the hell out of anybody who eats large-scale produced chicken sold at your local grocery stores. Also keep in mind that other changes in the inspection rules allowed the line speeds to increase to 3 birds per sec., anyone think you could spot a tumor at these speeds? Since the pandemic started, many small-scale farmers have upped their pastured chicken production, and have started selling locally. I would strongly suggest you seek them out for your needs. That small farmer-to-consumer relationship provides you with better quality food, keeps your money in the local economy, and helps the environment as well.
What’s to stop the “small-scale” mixed farming to explode back into large-scale animal farming as the unchecked growth in the human population continues along with increased demand? This business of “small-scale” is a half-measure, a band aid, not an effective solution.
With the global human overpopulation expected to reach 8 BILLION, how do you “humanely” produce all the animals needed to feed all these mouths via “small-scale” farming?
Most small scale farmers understand how we got here, it’s the reason many have chosen small scale diversified farming in the first place, and it worked for thousands of years before industrial farming came on to the scene. Proper, enforced regulations could control it. Are you advocating that farmers should be responsible for run-away population growth? And if it’s a “band aid” as you suggested, what is your solution? Continue factory farming, that is detrimental to the environment, people’s health, and animal welfare?
Obviously the small scale production method would have to be ramped up, with many more people returning to the occupation around the country, to supply everyone. With the massive job loss going on right now, that doesn’t look to be a bad option, and no question government would have to take the lead on this with funding and regulations, so little chance of it happening in our present political climate.
I am interested to see your solutions to the problems you pointed out though.
I used to work on a “small” hog farm and the animals were still treated to unthinkable acts of brutality, not to mention the pollution and wasted energy and space needed to grow crops to feed them. Don’t get me started on the water issues. Humans’ obsession with eating meat (and consuming other animal products) is destroying the planet, making people sick, and is definitely not fair to animals.
I too have worked on small farms, and my experience is the opposite, the animals were always treated with respect. IMO you worked for a psychopath farmer.
I’ve had this discussion many times here with people who want to eliminate animals from the farm production system, and it always boils down to this question: Explain how enough nitrogen will be produced for long-term sustainable farming in most areas of the country, when you remove animal waste from the farming model? And using chemical fertilizers is not sustainable in my opinion.
Yes there are ways to supplement nitrogen with certain cover crops, but relying on this alone is not sustainable long term, and the soil health will decline.
Jim Hightower stands tall as always in his informative writings…Jim lays-out the stark truth and how his subjects affect “ordinary” Americans…the “little people” so abused and robbed by the capitalist parasites and the politicians that serve that parasite rather than the public!
The shareholders are parasites on the body of society. The Common Good demands focus on society - on social issues and priorities, and that is socialism!. Focus on the Common Good, not common greed and parasitism! This principle is nowhere expressed more succinctly than this quote by John Adams:
“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men" That truth of the intent speaks directly to today’s massive corruption of politicians that serve not government Of the People By the people and FOR the people, but wealth and profits above all else!
Government, politicians political parties, legislation and taxes have all been stood on their head to serve wealth - “investors” and shareholders, to the great detriment and abuse of the public - of society!
Jim lays it all out in these paragraphs:
"“Shareholder primacy,” as they dubbed their malevolent principle, asserted that the corporate hierarchy’s SOLE purpose and overarching moral duty is to maximize stockholder profits."
"Under this self-serving theory, CEOs and board members must do everything legally possible to lower wages, shortcut safety, squeeze out competitors, cheapen quality, minimize environmental protections, dodge taxes, avoid scrutiny and safety, and otherwise manipulate the system to funnel revenues into shareholders’ pockets.
When a corporation sets up a workplace that routinely results in maiming, mangling, sickening, disabling, and even killing workers, those outcomes are not “accidents.” They are intentional, immoral decisions by executives and investors to increase profits by treating the human beings who produce the corporate product as disposable." - Jim Hightower
As always, many thanks Jim for your activism and truth speaking, Bravo! Ever stalwart!
I remember when I read The Jungle. It was over 100 years old by then. It was so bizarre to read. Nothing has changed in hundreds of years. The same old tricks, rinse, repeat. The city I lived in at the time was busy building a golf course and neighborhood on top of a retired garbage dump. It was coincidence, I swear. Thanks to Upton my eyes were opened.
It is so (expletive deleted) hard to live in this world.
For our own personal health and the health of the environment and climate we can drastically cut down on meat consumption and eliminate meat from CAFO’s and meat packing plants.
Any corporation, in any industry, is as bad as Big Meat, Big Pharma, Big Auto, or whatever. All corporations are designed to make ownership - shareholders and management - richer, and less responsible to the public. As far as the meat production industry goes, reducing the consumption of meat will reduce the costs involved, as well as the environmental impact of the industry itself. A vegetarian based economy and diet will still have an impact from production, transport, and storage of the various products involved. Under a purely capitalistic- and corporate-driven system,the damage will continue.
Who eats meat? I rarely eat meat. I will eat seafood on occasion. I exist on nuts and cheese and greens.
amen to that
(Beavis and Butthead)
“Uhhh huhuh huhuh, you said, Big Meat.”
“ya, heheh hehehehe Big Meat, heh”
Not mentioned in this article is the psychological harm suffered by the abattoir workers, obliged to endure the suffering and agony of the animals, forced to inflict pain upon them - all the name of profit. This aspect of health and safety - the mental health - of employees is ignored by the industry.
“I knew a guy that used to work in the stockyards and he used to kill cows all day long with a big sledgehammer, and then go home at night and eat dinner with his children and eat the meat that he slaughtered. Then he would go to church and read the bible, and he would say, ‘That is not killing.’ And I look at him and I say, ‘That doesn’t make any sense, what you are talking about?’
“ Then I look at the beast, and I say, ‘Who is the beast?’ - Charles Manson at his trial.
There is ample evidence that shows such work as slaughtering animals is not good for a persons mental health.
“It may seem logical that people that are surrounded by death all day, every day would eventually succumb to the emotional turmoil and stress of having to kill for a living, seeing the live animals coming in knowing that the worker will personally be ending its life but not being about to care. Slaughter house workers are increasingly reporting symptoms of PTSD including extreme anxiety, domestic violence, drug and alcohol abuse and social withdrawal. Nearly 10 percent of Americas Slaughter houses are in Texas, criminologists at the University of Windsor in Canada, reported in a study that there is a strong relationship between the location of a large slaughterhouse and high crime rates in American communities.”
How lightly those here pass over such findings as
“Most of the relevant literature addresses animal abuse preceding homicide or domestic abuse cases where the mental predisposition to abuse already exists and animals serve as a convenient outlet for aggression, a relatively easy first step before moving to human targets. In slaughterhouses, the predisposition to abuse is not necessarily preexisting, but killing animals may serve a similar purpose in those without a predisposition as it does in those with one by acting as a first step that desensitizes workers to further violence aimed at humans.”
I have already suggested that even under clinical conditions vets are affected by the need to euthanise animals.
“Studies of shelter staff, veterinary professionals, and laboratory animal technicians have consistently shown that these people experience a higher than usual rate number of physical and psychological symptoms of stress—including high blood pressure, depression, suicidal thoughts, and substance abuse—related to their job.”
I’m not proposing to impose veganism, but we should shift our menu to a flexitarian diet